Microsoft Natural Keyboard

Way back at the dawn of time, when I first starting really seriously typing for a living, and started to develop the initial signs of repetitive stress injury, one of the corrective steps I took was to go out and buy a Microsoft Natural Keyboard.

It worked. And I typed probably millions upon millions of words on it, to the point where the labels on all the keycaps were worn off. Eventually I couldn’t use the keyboard any longer; I’m not a one-finger typist, but I’ve got to look at what I’m typing at least a little, and with no labels, I was making more mistakes than I could handle.

So I phoned Microsoft and asked them about buying new keys for the keyboard. They told me new keys weren’t available, and sent me on my way.

And so I want out to buya new keyboard.

But somehow in the years between my first Microsoft Natural Keyboard purchase and my new search for a new same they’d made some design changes that I couldn’t abide, chiefly making the arrow keys really really small. So I was forced to buy a knock-off Belkin keyboard, and that’s what I’ve been using ever since.

Today, however, I realized that I wanted to start using my iBook portable more, and to do that required a full-sized keyboard. Fortunately Microsoft has seen the error of their earlier ways, and now has a keyboard called the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro. Not only does it have the full-sized arrow keys, but it also has a nice Mac OS X driver and both USB and PS/2 plugs.

So off to Future Shop I went tonight, and now I am typing this on said keyboard. And boy is it wonderful. Its touch is so much nicer than the Belkin; not approaching the original IBM-PC keyboard (which was Selectric-like and wonderful on a plateau that I fear will never be matched), but pretty darned nice. And it just plain worked with OS X, which is great.

If you earn your living at the keyboard, and want to take a small hands-preservation step, I certainly recommend this keyboard.


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on April 18, 2002 - 15:47 Permalink

Welcome. Great soft feel to the keys. You make a good point though — if you work with a computer all day, you need:
<li>Quality mouse/keyboard
<li>High resolution quality monitor (with a good enough graphics card to ensure a high refresh rate)
<li>A good desk
<li>A good chair

These this will pay for themselves.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on April 18, 2002 - 16:45 Permalink

I would also suggest a quite computer. One of the Big Benefits I’ve noticed since switching off my PC and using my iBook exclusively is that the sound of the PC’s fan isn’t forever drilling into my skull.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on April 18, 2002 - 17:02 Permalink

Agreed — I recently moved my whole office to the other end of the building to get away from the sound of our servers. I had been working in the room with the servers for years — so as the number of computers grew — so did the background noise — but gradually.

Now, I’m in a quiet office with nothing buy my Dell Inspiron (which is very quiet compared to a desktop). And that has made all the difference.

It’s important that people don’t skimp on these features. The screen, keyboard, and mouse are your three points of contant with the computer — they are far more important than megahertz.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on April 18, 2002 - 17:03 Permalink

I use music to remove said sounds. My computers speakers were one of the most significant costs for me when purchasing.

Andrew's picture
Andrew on April 18, 2002 - 19:09 Permalink

I heard constant noises could cause hearing impairments as well. So in the long run a PC fan can be more damaging then an electric guitar. :)